Paul Godfrey is taking the reins as president of the Minnesota State Bar Association at what can only be described as a dynamic time for the organization.
For one thing, the organization is in the process of filling the shoes of longtime executive director Tim Groshens, who is to retire this year. Cheryl Dalby, who had led the Ramsey County Bar Association since 2000, will succeed Groshens.
For another, Godfrey will be overseeing the consolidation of the MSBA and the bar associations of both Ramsey and Hennepin Counties. While remaining independently governed, the three associations will share a staff of about three dozen.
“The biggest thing for me in stepping in as president for 2018-19 was finding a new executive director,” said Godfrey. “Tim has been here for 34 years.”
Godfrey has all of that on his plate while overseeing a staff as in-house attorney for the Farmers Insurance Co.’s Twin Cities branch. In that role, Godfrey and his staff defend all personal injury claims in Minnesota and half of Wisconsin on behalf of Farmers. The great majority of those pertain to automobile accident cases.
While supervising the caseloads and support staff, Godfrey also teaches litigation in Farmers’ national trial school program, as well as mentoring for the University of St. Thomas Law School and coaching amateur hockey in St. Paul.
Godfrey said his appointment to the presidency of the MSBA was the result of desire on his part and grooming on the part of the association.
“I was the MSBA representative for Ramsey County,” he said. “I was interested in the post, and I was approached about it for five years, so it worked out well.”